Archive for January, 2011

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, January 31st, 2011

“If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.”

-Derek Walcott



Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, January 31st, 2011

THE “S” WORD: A SHORT HISTORY OF AN AMERICA TRADITION… SOCIALISM, by John Nichols, is largely well-received (with caveats) at

Patton Oswalt’s debut novel, ZOMBIE SPACESHIP WASTELAND, gets a nod and a smile.

The Washington Post makes the case for a short new eBook, THE GREAT STAGNATION, by Tyler Cowan.

And have a look at what’s new for review on Publishers Weekly‘s nonfiction page.

Afternoon Viewing: Richard Satterlie

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Carol Kabat masterfully visualizes Richard Satterlie’s poem, “Shadow to Shadow”:

‘A Season of Darkness’ by D. Jones & P. Gobbell

Monday, January 31st, 2011

A few weeks back, AuthorScoop was treated to a unique, double edition of ’5 Minutes Alone’. Authors, Douglas Jones and Phyllis Gobbell, shared their insights on their careers in the wake of the launch of, A SEASON OF DARKNESS, their account of one of Nashville’s most notorious crimes: the murder of nine year old Marcia Trimble.

I became intrigued by the saga of a killer caught thirty three years after his crime, so I got a copy.

In a feat of careful research and thoughtful construction, Jones and Gobbell tell the tale, striking the delicate balance of respect and reporting to honor the memory of a crime that broke a family and changed a city.

I’m pleased to pass on a recommendation of, A SEASON OF DARKNESS. The story of this baffling case is well-handled and definitely worth the read.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Andrew Gallix chronicles the French struggle with the tarnished legacy of Louis-Ferdinand Céline. (Guardian Books Blog)

The Borders situation just keeps getting sadder. (GalleyCat)

Fred R. Shapiro digs around a little and finds that many of those classic quotes came from women. (Yale Alumni Magazine)

Andrew Barrow remembers his brother Jonathan, an “eccentric and talented writer” who was killed in a 1970 car crash. (Telegraph)

Some recommended reading for those following events in Egypt. (The Daily Beast)

Alice Rawsthorn looks at the challenges and opportunities of book design in the digital age. (NYTimes)

Philip Podolsky says Salinger’s early stories tell us far more than any “biographical tidbits.” (Guardian Books Blog)

R.I.P. Tony Geiss, writer and lyricist. (Reuters)

“On this day in 1948, J. D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” was published in the New Yorker; in the same magazine, on the same day in 1953, Salinger’s “Teddy” also appeared. These are the first and last selections in Nine Stories (1953), Salinger’s only collection. “Bananafish” introduces Seymour Glass, one of the many that Salinger would cast in the Holden mold and predicament.” (Today in Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.”

-Harlan Ellison

Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

A review of David McCullough’s, JOHN ADAMS, from 1991 is shuffled to the top at The Christian Science Monitor’s ‘Classic Reviews’ feature.

The Asheville Citizen-Times loves the kiddie books and to that end, they’ve got A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE, by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead, lit up in admiration.

MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, a memoir by Rhoda Janzen, wins over The New Zealand Herald.

And author Brad Parks will enjoy that, EYES OF THE INNOCENT, his follow up to a hit debut is well-received.

Afternoon Viewing: “Emily the Strange: Dark Times” Book Trailer

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Sylvia Plath illustrated her dreams. (Austin Kleon/Tumblr)

Authorities finally shut down the person who has been dumping condiments in Idaho library book-drops. (Reuters)

Geoff Nicholson takes us along on his dark fantasy of being the target of literary profiling. (NYTimes)

Digital Book World panel seeks the convergence point of libraries and eBooks. (LATimes)

Top literary observers as, “Is the age of the critic over?” (The Observer)

James Kidd profiles social worker-turned-Booker nominated novelist, Gaynor Arnold. (The Independent)

Sarah Churchwell finds that “Babylon Revisited” stands as poignant reminder of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s downward spiral and a cautionary tale for the times in which we live. (Telegraph)

Amazon’s Kindle eBook sales outpace those of paperbacks. (Tainted Green)

R.I.P. Ariana Franklin, historical thriller author. (Belfast Telegraph)

“On this day in 1933 Ezra Pound met with Benito Mussolini. This was a brief, one-time talk, but it would bring out the worst in Pound’s personality and lead to personal disaster. It would also inspire some of the best of modern poetry — the Bollingen Prize-winning Pisan Cantos, written while Pound was in detention, charged with treason.” (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

“War and Peace maddens me because I didn’t write it myself, and worse, I couldn’t.”

-Jeffrey Archer




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

January Magazine previews a list of what they expect to be the best books of 2011.

Vonnegut fans won’t be able to stay away from WHILE MORTALS SLEEP, the latest posthumous collection published from his files, and The San Fransisco Chronicle says there’s no need to avoid it, but not to expect, well, fully-polished Vonnegut.

THE GREAT WALL OF LUCY WU, the debut from novelist Wendy Wan-Long Shang, goes over well at Kirkus.

Perhaps a looming Valetine’s inspiration? The Denver Post looks at Marlene Wagman-Geller’s AND THE REST IS HISTORY: THE FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS (AND INFAMOUS) FIRST MEETINGS OF THE WORLD’S MOST PASSIONATE COUPLES.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Sam Whiting profiles Caribou Island author David Vann. (San Francisco Chronicles)

Arab writers share their views on the wave of protests spreading across the Middle East. (The Guardian)

Virginia Quarterly honors its 2010 award winners. (VQR)

Some of today’s most notable authors reveal the locations that inspire them the most. (The Independent)

Snooki’s novel, A Shore Thing, crashes and burns. (Hollywood Reporter)

Is handwriting more conducive to the writing process than typing on a keyboard? (Science Daily)

Scott Eyman chats it up with bestselling crime/mystery novelist Robert Crais. (The Palm Beach Post)

“On this day in 1728 John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera opened in London. Its satire and singability made it a first-run sell-out, a cultural craze across England, the most produced play of the 18th century, and the original “ballad opera,” first in the Gilbert and Sullivan line. As one first-week review reported, “it hath made Rich [the theater manager] very Gay, and probably will make Gay very Rich.”" (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, January 28th, 2011

“It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.”

-Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The Christian Science Monitor lines up five books to win your kid over to the dark side: the love of mysteries.

Kenneth Slawenski’s J.D. SALINGER: A LIFE goes over well at The Daily Telegraph.

HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE, AND HOW TO READ ONE, by Stanley Fish, is, among other things, an antidote to text speak.

Crimes and investigations played out against a Swedish backdrop are all the rage just now. THREE SECONDS, by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström (translated by Kari Dickson) is the next one up for scrutiny, and it flounders a bit at The LA Times.

Afternoon Viewing: Nancy Werlin

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The always fun Girls in the Stacks chat it up with the Young Adult author:

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Martin Chilton profiles the (reluctantly) resurgent Charles Portis. (Telegraph)

Kyle Minor discusses his writing habits and habitats. (The Rumpus)

Booker judges will begin using eReaders. (The Age)

Is former John McCain aide Mark Salter the author of O? (TIME)

Tom Waits raises $90,000 for the Redwood Empire Food Bank through sales of his Seeds on Hard Ground chapbook. (Official)

Author Terry McMillan accuses Jada and Will Smith of “pimping” their children. (

Rob Sharp examines Jonathan Swift’s “flirtatious game of self-censorship.” (The Independent)

Maev Kennedy has more on Swift’s letters, including his use of baby-talk. (The Guardian)

Maryann Yin talks to children’s writer Sarah Collins Honenberger about her book Catcher, Caught—and how it incorporated Salinger’s classic. (GalleyCat)

Professor Stanley Fish, author of How to Write a Sentence (And How to Read One) shares his all-time favorite movie lines. (The Daily Beast)

Philip Hensher tries to square the popularity of poetry with the feeling that it’s “losing its way.” (Telegraph)

R.I.P. Michael Neelak Van Rooy, Canadian crime author. (CBC News)

“On this day in 1873 Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was born outside Paris. Although much about her is blurred by her mythologizing and her autobiographical fiction, Colette was one of the most popular writers and provocative personalities in the first half of the twentieth century. On the basis of her fifty books and her full, frank life, she is credited and blamed with much…” (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

“I like what I like and not what I’m supposed to like because of mass rating. And I very much dislike the things I don’t like.”

-Erle Stanley Gardner




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

In Seattle, they say that Phillip Roth is miles away from losing his way with words and his gift for perspective and he proves it with his latest, THE HUMBLING.

The New Yorker spotlights Siobhan Fallon’s reflections on military life, YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE.

DESTINY AND DESIRE, by Carlos Fuentes, has a few hurdles and pitfalls that don’t sit well with The California Literary Review.

Ralph Keyes has a good time with the practice of beating around the bush in EUPHEMANIA.

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Irish author Colm Toibin will replace Martin Amis as creative writing professor at Manchester University. (The Independent)

Newly released letters show a different side of JD Salinger. (The Independent)

Philip Womack ponders what these letters may teach us. (Telegraph)

Martin Chilton uses the occasion to explore Salinger’s—and other authors’—reclusive natures. (Telegraph)

Stephen Chbosky will adapt his novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, both penning the screenplay and directing the film. (New York Magazine)

Michael Norris muses in the confluence of Camus, Burroughs and Black. (LitKicks)

Maryann Yin reports on BookSwim’s new site for eBook swapping. (GalleyCat)

M.A. Orthofer offers an excellent overview of the longlist for the Best Translated Book award, along with some insightful commentary. (The Literary Saloon)

Nabokov proves to have been quite the evolutionary theorist on butterflies. (NYTimes)

Philip Pullman makes a stand in defense of libraries. (The Guardian)

R.I.P. Peter-Paul Zahl, German author. (Der Tagesspiegel)

“On this day in 1722 Daniel Defoe published Moll Flanders — or, more exactly, “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c who was born at Newgate, and during a Life of continued Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five time a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent.”" (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.”

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle